Contact Information Nestori Foundation c/o Arto Vilén, Lammintauksentie 5 82500 Kitee, tel. +358 400 725 478 email: e-mail arto.vilen(at)metsa.fi
Photographs Miina Auttila, Mari Laukkanen, Miia Tolvanen, Lassi Karivalo, piirros Daga Ulv
The Saimaa Ringed Seal
The Saimaa Ringed Seal is the most threatened seal species in the world. The number of Saimaa Ringed Seals is today a mere 320 individuals.
Its habitat comprises the Lake Saimaa water system in Finland. The Saimaa Ringed Seal got isolated from the Baltic Seal (Pusa hispida bothnica) living in the Baltic Sea some 8,000 years ago and became a subspecies of its own.
The Saimaa Ringed Seal has become threatened as a result of human actions. In the past, the biggest threat was legal hunting of the seal still allowed at that time. Now the worst threats include drowning caused by non-professional fishing with nets, and human disturbance caused by water traffic as especially in wintertime, well as destruction of habitats that are important for the seal by building houses close to shoreline as well as climate change. The number of Saimaa Ringed Seals is today a mere 270 individuals.